At a meeting with education officials about vaccinating children on Monday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett made another in a series of baffling statements concerning the Omicron variant of the COVID virus.
“This is a wave that we cannot stop, but we can delay and slow and diminish its strength,” Bennett said at a press conference while standing alongside Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton.
“[Omicron] is unusually contagious. While during Delta we saw a doubling [of cases] every 10 days, now the average is [a doubling] every day or two or three days,” Bennett said. “If today we have 1,000 [new daily] confirmed cases, and it’s doubling every two days, then in 20 days there’ll be a million new cases daily.”
By this calculation, Bennett is estimating that in a month there will be 16 million new covid cases in Israel. The only problem with that statement is that Israel’s population stands at just 9.2 million.
that’s why many throughout Israel are accusing him of being a false prophet – a sin warned of in the Book of Deuteronomy:
if the prophet speaks in the name of Hashem and the oracle does not come true, that oracle was not spoken by Hashem; the navi has uttered it presumptuously: do not stand in dread of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22)
His assessment was also brought into question by a Channel 12 news report, which noted dryly “not everyone in the healthcare system would sign off on that.”
Bennett’s understanding of Omicron has been dubious in the past. Earlier this month, Bennett mistakenly claimed during a weekly cabinet meeting that the Omicron variant had claimed the lives of two middle-school students in the UK. He later retracted that statement.
Bennett also touted his decision to close the borders to non-citizens as saving the country from the new form of the pandemic, giving a reprieve of at least three weeks. At the same time, he predicted that a deadly fifth wave of the disease is set to begin.
“It is possible to say that the fifth wave has begun,” he reiterated at the press event this week.
Despite closing the border, the PM’s family went overseas for a vacation.
Bennett raised the ire of religious Jews in August when he contacted HMO heads to continue administering the third COVID vaccine to the elderly population, including during Shabbat and overnight.
Violating the Sabbath can only be permitted in life-threatening cases and many Orthodox rabbis publicly contradicted the PM’s instructions.